Psychology

Good Grief

What is the value of grief? Some argue that grief (not to be confused with mourning, which is the public display of grief) allows us insight into a normally masked version of ourselves; the vulnerability that is exposed during grief opens the doors to self-knowledge. In tangent with this, grief counselling has two distinct benefits: first, to help us through the grief; and second, to understand what the grief has revealed about ourselves. Read full article here

In Mapping Mistakes, A Window To The Inner Mind

Lapses are moments when we make what look like wrong decisions despite having all the necessary information. While scientists used to think this was because the brain sometimes becomes disinterested, it’s been suggested that lapses might also be tied to uncertainty and exploration. Experiments on mice show that mice had fewer lapses when they expected a reward, but had more when the chance of reward was lower. So, animals (including people) might have more lapses because our brains are exploring new strategies when there are lower stakes involved. Read full article here

The Dangerous Playgrounds Of 1900s Through Vintage Photographs

Have you ever suffered a fall on a playground? Although playgrounds are safer now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re better for children. The dangerous playgrounds of the 1900s were essential to teach children not to be so fearful. Getting hurt and being exposed to the risk of being hurt work similarly to habituation techniques that therapists use to help adults conquer their phobias. So, while we’re preventing kids from getting hurt physically, we may be hurting them mentally in the long run. Read full article here

The Limits Of (Working) Memory

Working memory is the brain’s ability to remember information temporarily. Research by Schapiro et al. suggests that working memory has its limits, perhaps even a capacity that a person can hit. In their experiments, they noted that people used different techniques to remember the positions of numerous coloured disks. However, they found that people performed terribly after being asked to memorise the position of five disks, which suggests that working memory’s capacity affects all people equally regardless of memorisation technique. Read full article here

Involvement And Detachment

To truly understand a community’s problems, we must avoid becoming detached. When we’re looking at a situation through a detached lens, we feel like outsider experts that can clearly understand people’s problems. But people have concerns that they don’t articulate. These problems become apparent only when you immerse yourself in their day-to-day and read between the lines. How do you do this? Foster a genuine curiosity about their customs, history, and worldview. You’ll find that they’re more willing to open up and make it easier to understand their concerns. Read full article here

Why Some People Can’t Tell That You’re Being Authentic

How easy is it to tell if someone is being authentic? It turns out it’s rather difficult because it’s easier to fake authenticity than it is to be true to yourself. Imagine a person faking an illness. They would probably pretend to have every symptom of the disease to get medical practitioners to diagnose them with the disease at first glance. In contrast, a person who’s actually sick with the same disease will only have some of the symptoms, so they may look perfectly healthy to the average person. Read full article here

How To Become A Brain Myth Buster

Many brain facts that we know are myths and are harmful to education. An example of this is the myth that our left and right brain have different properties. It supposes that everyone has a dominant brain hemisphere, which controls what we’re good at; the left is better at logic, while the right is better at creativity. This can lead to wasted potential, especially if teachers stop supporting a student struggling with a subject like math because they believe that the student is right-brained. Read full article here

Human Adults Prefer To Cooperate Even When It Is Costly

Would you choose to cooperate with someone on a task even when it’s detrimental to your success? Research has found that human adults prefer to perform a task with a partner even when doing so actively hurts your chance of success. It seems that people may not be consciously thinking about their chances of success when cooperating with others because cooperation is beneficial to human life by default, so we think it’s more beneficial to do tasks with someone rather than alone. Read full article here

We Are More Satisfied With Life As We Age, Thanks To This Neurochemical

Oxytocin is the neurochemical associated with trust, generosity, and kindness. New research has found that the body seems to release more and more oxytocin as we grow older, making us more caring and generous. The researchers also found that those who released more oxytocin were generally more satisfied with their lives, which may be the reason why many religions’ teachings of happiness stemming from service to others ring true for many people. Read full article here

Putting A Name To A Face? It’s As Easy As Going To Sleep

Targeted memory reactivation is a process that strengthens one’s memories by playing sounds associated with that memory during sleep. In a study, researchers found that reactivation also helps with remembering names, but only for those who had a deep, undisturbed sleep. The ones who spent less time in the deepest stage of sleep and whose sleep was disrupted (even a little) didn’t benefit from reactivation. They hypothesise it’s because reactivation needs a lot of time to strengthen memories. Read full article here

FASCINATING READS, SUMMARISED

The occasional email full of conversation-worthy content